Laurel

Laurea, New York

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a part of Laurel, by Mac n Cheese.

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Mac n Cheese holds sovereignty over Laurea, New York, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
1,256 readers have been here.
2,974 readers have visited Laurel since Mac n Cheese created it.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

influenced by the charlie bone series and the alphas series

Setting

Default Location for Laurus
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Minimap

Laurea, New York is a part of Laurel.

17 Characters Here

Aimee Hart [68] "I never do things the easy way."
Lane Blackwell [62] "Music completes me in a way that nothing else ever will."
Erin Hill [57] "Engineers turn dreams into reality. That's my magic."
Lucas Long [56] "It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane."-- Valis
Nina Nikolayevna Romanov [55] "A closed mouth gathers no foot."
Anthony Carraway [46] "I'd rather be loved than feared, actually."
Daniel Ahn [38] "If you have to use force to get what you want, you are a moron."
Sterling Walker [35] "There are many people I could bless with my presence, but I chose you."
Rebecca Sayre [26] "Money is such a funny thing, don't you think?"
Keevan Brennan [22] "Books are a uniquely portable magic."

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna-Marie Beckett Character Portrait: Mimi Arquette Character Portrait: Colin Dartonay

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Mimi had eventually changed her dress. After walking with Collin and Anna for quite a bit she bid them goodbye, kissing both Colin and Ana goodbye. She had stripped of her sandals and slung them over her shoulder someway through her walk. She couldn't figure out why but she had an affection for walking barefoot. Her mother despised it and demanded that Mimi stop but obviously her attempts were fruitless. Her mother did, however, demand that a spa technician come to Mimi's dorm at least once every two weeks and give Mimi a pedicure and a manicure with tips, so she couldn't bite them down. At the thought of her nails she glanced at them. They were long and shaped like a almond, she had them painted white. Mimi seemed to always wear white lately. With so much darkness in her life it somehow comforted her to at least have some essence of purity, even if it was superficial.

Once in her room she slipped on a cotton crochet shift dress. It hit her mid thigh and had a deep vee that connected towards the end. Little flowery lace details spread out throughout the dress giving it her signature ethereal style. She paired it with lace up tan sandals that went up to her knee . She pulled her big curls into a curly bun, leaving her bangs out (out of pure laziness), giving her a casual aspect to the straight off the runway outfit. Large dramatic gold hoops dangled from her small ears and a simple jade bead bracelet accompanied her slender wrists. With a little giggle she applied pale green eye shadow to her eyes, just to be fun.

She had stuck pretty close to Anna, who she decided was her new best friend, once she found her and Collin. Mimi also promptly solidified her friendship by greeting Anna with a kiss on the mouth and an impish grin. Collin would have received the same treatment however, due to the serious height barrier and his refusal to be cooperative, she settled on a hug. Presently the curly haired girl was twirling around them. Once dizziness took over her she sat on the ground indian style, despite her dress, and demanded Anna do the same. Most people who behaved the way Mimi did would be considered bossy or petulant (like a child), but not Mimi. She grinned coyly and looked up at you with her big dark eyes under those impossibly long lashes and you just fell into her hand.

She turned to Anna and cocked her head, " So tell me about yourself Anna? " Mimi was good at this game. It was called "show me yours while I hide mine." You would tell her everything she wanted to know and she would reward you with a smile and another questionn. It was quite fun, for her.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holden Cunningham Character Portrait: Christine Garner

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#, as written by Dumisa
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Christine had finished up her lunch and exited the cafeteria. It seemed that everyone was catching up on things except her. She often enjoyed being by herself, since she didn't really have that feeling that someone was going to die soon whenever she was alone. Hearing about the bonfire tonight, she was extremely cautious about going but decided what the hell. What's the worst that could happen. Christine made her trek back into her room and started to unpack her bags, wasting time until the bonfire tonight. As she pulled out outfits for the bonfire, she looked to see which one she wanted to wear tonight for the bonfire.

'Hm.' She hummed to herself while having her eyes scanning over an outfit. She placed it to the side and patted it then proceeded back to unpacking. When she was done with that, she'd shower and brush her teeth then emerge herself from a steam filled bathroom with the scent of Apple Cinnamon swirling in the air. She sat down at her vanity area and applied on a little bit of makeup. Once that was completed, she placed on her clothes, which was nothing more than a pair of blue jean short shorts, a t-shirt that read boldly Sarcastic Me and a pair of converses.

Christine reviewed over herself in the mirror, tying her hair up in a ponytail then let a sigh before she made a swift exit from her room. She made her way down towards the bonfire, immediately grabbing herself a drink whenever she got there. She took a small sip then held her cup in hand while walking over to the fire, standing there and looking for some of her friends to talk to.



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Tyler stayed in his room for the majority of the day, posting videos on YouTube and even doing his blog. He heard his roommate Anthony stirring earlier this morning and just ignored the sounds but it was keeping him up, a little bit. Since he was up, he leaned over his bed, digging underneath it and pulling out his musical keyboard. He strummed his fingers through the keys, playing a few notes while humming, trying to find his pitch.

These walls and all these picture framesEvery name, they showThese halls, I've walked a thousand timesHeartbreaks and Valentine's♫Friends of mine all know

Tyler sung softly in his room then heard a smothering of chatter outside of his room door. With a slight sigh, he threw himself off of his bed and went over to his door, asking the females engaging in conversation what was up. They eyed him and mentioned the bonfire tonight. A slight smile came over his lips as he nodded his head and gave them a thumbs up. Tyler went back into his room and rested his back against the door while wondering what was he going to wear tonight. But while pondering on that, he quickly ran and showered, lathing himself with his Axe body wash.

When came out from the bathroom, he had on nothing but a towel wrapped around him. He rummaged through his closet, basically saying no to almost everything he came across then held out on buttoned down shirt with a smirk. Tyler dressed himself in a blue buttoned down shirt, unbuttoning the sleeves and rolling them up while also placing on a pair of Khaki, cargo shorts, along with a pair of Sperry's. He looked himself over in the mirror before placing on his glasses and heading out towards the bonfire.

Tyler made it over the bonfire, grooving to the music like an idiot when he reached the grounds. It felt like all eyes were on him but he didn't care. Bonfires were meant for fun and that's what he intended to do. Have fun. When the song he was dancing to was over, he walked over and sat down on one of the logs as a female brought him over a drink, saying that she liked his moves with a wink and continued to strut off. He snickered lightly to himself while shaking his head. Luckily, no one really knows that he is gay. Yet.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holden Cunningham Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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#, as written by Saerith
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Right now, this didn't seem like such a good idea anymore. Amonst the young boys and girls dancing and drinking, Anthony tripped on his own feet trying to keep up with Aimee while still uncertain he actually wanted to. He felt sweat running down the back of his neck and a chill up and down his body, and when Aimee asked him to rush, his only wish was to turn around and run like there was no tomorrow. Although her touch, reassuring him that he was not alone, did make things a little easier on him, his earlier excitement was now replace with a anxiety that boarded fear. "Aimee, slow down! I... Would you- Maybe we should just- Not good..." Carr mumbled under his breath, random words that were almost whispered and made no sense at all.

Staring at the night sky as he let Aimee guide him to the drinks table, he thought about this so called peak of his teenage years. Really, Erin and Aimee were everything he had, and he loved them deeply, but of he was being honest this wasn't exactly the dream of every teenage boy, or the young age epic adventure most people looked forward to. They couldn't be with him all of the time, and he couldn't blame them? Honestly, he pretty much just always wanted to stay in, hut in no way wanted to drag them down. So, as of right now, there was no way he could possibly say anything that would erase the wonderful smile Aimee had put on. Instead, he tried to swallow his discomfort and held the cup that was offered to him. He stared at it for a seconds, then drank the entire thing, making a strange face at Aimee and lifting his empty cup in the air. "To our peak!"

He turned his head once more to the stars in the dark night sky and, before he could understand or even notice what was going on, his shirt was soaking wet and Aimee was on the ground. After alternating between eyeing Lucas in surprise while he apologized and muttering some unintelligible apologies himself, he finally held Aimee's other hand to help lift her up. Then, as Lucas kept apologizing profusely, he took it upon himself to poor Aimee another drink, since her previous one was now splattered across his shirt, and one to himself as well. Maybe she was right, and this would make the night a lot easier. Even now, he found himself smiling slightly.





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As Becky approached the area where people started gathering for the bonfire, she could see the heads turning to face her, feel the not so discrete looks. This wasn't an unfamiliar feeling, actually, she was very accustomed to all this attention, she craved it. These were looks of all kinds. Lust, envy, awe. Anger. Fear. The various gazes ran up and down her bare legs, travelled along her golden waves of bright hair, some even dare explore her blue, piercing eyes. But she knew most of them looked to ask the same question. Rebecca Sayre is here. Then where's Nina? Becky had been to her room earlier that day, but wasn't able to find her there, so she had left a small note, written in her delicate calligraphy.

I saw it in the Breadbowl. Hope you're alright, honey. See you at the fire tonight.

She walked up to the table were the drinks were placed as soon as she came to poor herself some beer. It wasn't very cold - or expensive, she could tell by the flat taste - but it would have to do. A few Influentials approached her to ask where she had been all afternoon, but she quickly invented some excuse, not showing a lot of interest for what they had to say. She was too busy discretely searching around with her eyes, hoping to see Keevan. Truth is, she hadn't got anything for him, but something told her tonight had a little special present for them both. What would they say, she wondered, if they knew he was the one she was looking for? The thought amused her. Unfortunately the only person she could find was Trish, one of the younger influentials, handing over a glass of whatever to Tyler Cunningham. She winked at him, and Becky's eyes seemed to send her a dangerous warning. She approached both as Trish left, making sure the pair could hear her.

"Trish, darling, please don't be so desperate. Can't you see this young lad isn't interested? Let him be." she said quite amiably, not even turning to see the other girl's expression as she left. Then, she stared at Holden blankly with a odd smile on her face, taking large sips of her beer, with apparently no intention of saying one more word.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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Aimee laughed as Anthony downed his cup also and raised it in the air. "To our peak!" She said. She finished off her second drink and was just about to pour another when suddenly Lucas--the guy who had moved in behind her--stumbled and fell into her, causing her drink to splash on both her shirt and Anthony's. She cursed, shit goddammit this is a new shirt... before suddenly trailing off as she realized that with Lucas's hand on her arm she was getting in a wave of information. It was like being electrified with thoughts coursing through her rapidly. She saw little Lucas in fifth grade, on the outskirts of everyone, followed by an older Lucas in what looked to be ninth grade getting yelled at by a woman; probably his mother. All of these events that she was getting were circled around one key fact: Lucas could read minds. You can read my mind! She exclaimed in her thoughts.

A couple more images flooded her, causing her to stumble more into Anthony. He had grabbed her hand and tried to lift her up but she had been so preoccupied with Lucas that she hadn't taken it when she should have. Now, she could feel a steady headache coming on from using too much of her power at once and the only thing supporting her was her arm on Anthony's. The Lucas revelation was interesting, she had never met someone with an ability so similar to her own. She knew that since he could read her thoughts, he would be able to tell that she knew what he could do. If she were in his shoes, she'd be a little freaked. "We should go sit...over there," she said to Anthony, "I have a headache and things just got weird."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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#, as written by piearty
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When Lucas had fallen, he'd gotten some sort of weird flash of images from his past, but among his embarrassment and the dozens of other minds around him and the whole falling-to-the-ground thing, he'd barely noticed.

As he got up and apologized to the guy, Anthony, who had beer splashed all over him, Lucas was gauging the guy's reaction to the whole thing. But, far from mad, Anthony was...amused? ???

He was trying to parse this reaction when a voice exclaimed, "You can read my mind!"

"Wh--" he started to say, but he realized that Aimee hadn't said it, she'd thought it. And what's more, she thought it at him, 'you'; she knew that not only was he able to read her mind, he was reading it right this second.

How did she know that?! He turned to look at her, eyes wide. "I've never met someone with an ability so similar to my own," she had thought. Could she hear him too? How did you know that?! But she had already turned and gone, hooked her arm in Anthony's and walked away, muttering about a headache.

Not wanting to awkwardly stand at the drinks table for forever, he grabbed another cup of ice and walked to a seat as far away from Aimee and Anthony as possible. He stuck an ice cube in his mouth and sucked on it thoughtfully. Obviously she had some sort of power as well, but what was it? It didn't seem to be the same as his or she would've just said so, along with various other reasons. She'd only seemed to realize after they fell--why? Was there something special about falling? Maybe it was the contact--then he remembered the flash of images from before. He hadn't been thinking about it; she'd been! And they happened immediately after he grabbed her arm.

So some sort of reading minds...ish...thing that happens whenever she touches someone. That was similar to his powers. A large part of him was shaken and scared that someone knew about him and his powers, and, apparently, judging by the images, most of his history. He felt like a wall of his had been shattered without his permission. Is that what people whose minds I read would feel like if they knew? Well that's why they shouldn't know!

What if she tells everyone, he thought with dread. If people knew exactly what his power was it could be, and probably would be, disastrous. No one would trust him, or want to hang out with him. He'd be a freak again. An outcast. He had to confront her, make her swear not to tell--he peered over at where she and Anthony were sitting--alone.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Christine Garner Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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#, as written by Layla
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      XXX

      XXXA week of detentions and of packing up exercise mats left sprawled across the gym after hours. They are the most lenient punishments Sterling has ever received for something reckless that he's done and there have certainly been many. Perhaps the teachers could sympathise with his frustration towards the Russian princess. Nina Romanov is nothing if not despised, by students and teachers alike.
      XXXAfter a brief shelling from Laurel Academy's esteemed principal about the imprudence of using one's powers so openly, especially one that risked the damage of school property, Sterling was set free. Thus he found himself wandering to the yearly bonfire later in the night.
      XXXFire licks the sky, higher than should be safe, but Sterling spots in the shadows the Pyro twisting his arms, body swaying as if engaged in a dance with the very flames that rise above him.
      XXXThe sharp, sour smell of alcohol devours the fresh scent of pine surrounding them, mingling with the salty tang of sweaty bodies. The first dance has yet to begin, but people mingle, raising red solo cups to parched lips, parched tongues ready to taste another.
      XXXNina's stunning blonde sidekick lounges by the fire, legs laid bare for viewing pleasure. Adoring eyes follow every flick of her golden locks, swooning and bulging when she casts bright blue eyes in their direction. Other Elites are scattered across the pools of students like Barons controlling their regions, but their Queen is nowhere to be seen. Neither is her Knight and Advisor, Sterling notices with a spark of glee.
      XXXA familiar body stands at the fringes, dark hair pulled into a pony tail that tumbles over her shoulders. Her dark eyes watch the crowd, searching, wanting. Sterling moves towards her, silent as the shadows that flicker beyond the growing fire. He touches the small of her back, dwarfing her with his height. He ducks his head until his lips graze her ear.
      XXX"Christine," he breathes. "Always a pleasure to see you, love."


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      XXX

      XXXThe freshman handed Nina Lane's corpses, eagerness and terror threatening to overflow from her eyes. Nina gives her a tight smile she returns tenfold before scurrying away, excited to gain the Queen's favour - or so she thinks - but too afraid to test her luck. Smart girl.
      XXXThe sheets are damp and the ink smears across her fingertips. Nina had left Daniel with a sandwich, telling him appetite lost or not, he should enjoy it. Because she'd spread the peanut butter and raspberry jam herself, and Nina Romanov did not make sandwiches for just anyone.
      XXXThere is another note waiting for her when Nina returns to her room. Anna is nowhere to be seen.
      XXX"I saw it in the Breadbowl. Hope you're alright, honey. See you at the fire tonight."
      XXXNina recognises the elaborate cursive handwriting in an instant. Weariness winds its way through her tired bones as she reads the message again, examining it for any hints of a threat or Rebecca's frame of mind. Though they are part of the same Elite circle, Nina is careful to keep one eye open at all times around Rebecca. Though she seems to most superficial and perhaps even dumb, Nina knows her to be only one of those. Becky enjoys the material things, but she can most certainly be ambitious and cunning when it suits her.
      XXXBecky, too, is pleasant to the eyes, but more importantly, she is, well, less of a bitch. Nina has to hold her crown with both hands and make sure the only time Becky comes anywhere near it is when she's polishing it.
      XXXNina tucks the note in her drawer and leaves the room. She wanders through the gardens surrounding the main building until she finds a secluded space between the forage, where no one - especially not the Breadbowl Canaries - will find her. She thumbs through the ruined sheets of music, catching snippets of indestructible music she cannot help but jot down on the back of a page that avoiding much of the water's wrath.
      XXXShe is numb as she does so, hands moving in her perfect scrawl - neat enough to be a printed font, so they say - over the page. Her mind does not quite process what she reads. Only her envy does, her wish that she could be something other than rich, pretty Nina. Rich, pretty, useless Nina. Lane is remarkably talented and she possesses more mercy in her pinky than Nina could ever hope to have in her entire body. But for all her faults, Nina has never been capable of lying to herself. So she admits in the privacy of her own mind that yes, Lane is better than me, and yes, Nina Romanov is jealous of a poor girl.
      XXXA string of legible writing spears through the ice that encases Nina's being and she pauses. She reads it a second time, and then a third, fourth, fifth. Her eyes wander back and forth, up and down as she traces every curve of every letter again and again.

      XXX"Why'd you let us go,
      XXXwhy'd you let us slip away?
      XXXI miss you and I think about you
      XXXEvery single day.

      XXXWhat did I miss?
      XXXWhen did sorrow turn to hate?"


      XXXThe rest of the song is a blot of illegible words. Nina folds the page into a tight square and tucks it into the pocket of her blouse. Just beside her bleeding heart.

      XXXHer chest pulses in time with the music. Colours trip over one another in a whirlwind of depth and movement. Smoke wafts from between her lips in perfect circles. The people around her cheer and clap, staring at her with bloodshot eyes. Nina laughs, tossing her head back as they enter mass gathered around the bonfire. People part to make way for the Queen, whispers slipping from mouths to ears, words twisting into gossip that'll bleed into Breadbowl before the night is done.
      XXXThe people that followed her to the bonfire are not Elites, but Influentials and even the occasional Talented or Powerful with penchants of "living life on the edge," to put lightly. They waver like fallen leaves, their movements out of sync with the music. But not Nina's. Even inebriated, stoned and God knows what else, she knows how to keep the tempo and to command a certain air of respect. She moves like a pendulum on a golden leash, enchanting and haunting the people around her.
      XXXWide, pale blue eyes like shattered glass search for Daniel reflexively. Finding him absent, those bloodshot orbs search for someone else instead. They land on slim fingers running through a stream of blonde hair. Nina walks towards her, hips swaying underneath a blood red dress. She kneels behind the slim blonde, placing her hands on Becky's shoulders and grazing her lips across them.
      XXX"Dance with me," she breathes.
      XXXNina pulls her up, nearly tripping over her own two feet. She giggles, righting herself, tugging Rebecca towards her. Many students around them howl with lust and excitement, eager to witness some girl-on-girl action, whilst some jeer, muttering insults under their breaths.
      XXXNina seems oblivious to them, or perhaps she does not care. She turns with Becky's hands in her own, hair fanning around her as she quirks her full lips into a devastating smile.
      XXX"You're beautiful," she tells Rebecca. "Enchanting. Mesmerising. Smoking hot. Ten out of -"
      XXXThe words fizzle and collapse as an arms slips around Nina's waist, jerking her backwards into a hard chest. Cameron Hillcock kisses Nina's neck. She pulls away but he pulls her back. She freezes. Stays still.
      XXXHer mind screams.
      XXXCallused hands. Hot breath against my neck. Shoe pressing into back. Pain. No sound. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... 26 stars in the sky. Don't think about what's happening, just go. Let go. Don't hold on to this body. Not my body. Not mine. Not me.
      XXXI can't breathe. I can't breathe.
      XXXNina shoves against his chest and Cameron stumbles back in surprise. He didn't expect her to say no. The shock fades and his mouth twists into a grin.
      XXX"Come on, Nina," he says. "Everyone knows you'll give it up in the end."
      XXXBreathe. Stay still. Don't be scared. Don't let them know you're scared.
      XXXNina raises a brow. Swallows. Her nails bite into her skin. Her eyes swim, but she blames that on the drugs.
      XXX"After last time?" she lies. Nina rolls her eyes. "Tiny Cammy couldn't even please me. I'd rather give it up to a Triple A battery, at least that'll last longer than you."
      XXXLaughs burst from the people around them. Cameron flushes a bright red.
      XXX"You little -" Cameron starts, grabbing Nina's wrist and wrenching her forward.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna-Marie Beckett Character Portrait: Mimi Arquette Character Portrait: Colin Dartonay

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Monday, June 22nd | Laurel Summer Academy
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After the somewhat chilling experience of being smiled at by a possible psychopath, sending her step-brother down Depressing Memory Lane, and witnessing pure bitchiness being inflicted on an innocent virtuoso, Anna-Marie found Mimi Arquette's company to be something out of a fairytale. She was a faerie, all glitter, flutter, and shimmer. And with her huge, doe eyes, Anna was torn between nicknaming her Tinkerbell or Bambi.

After Mimi left to change her dress and prepare for the little soiree they were all going to attend, -albeit reluctantly, in Colin's case- Anna turned to Colin with raised eyebrows. He met her gaze, and then seemed to try and pointedly avoid it. "Well, Mimi's kind of..." "Weird?" "I was going to say awesome." Colin was noticeably thrown, "Wait- what?" "She's so nice! And pretty adorable, actually." Colin stared, and Anna peered back at him with a hinting expression, "And... a marvelous kisser." "What's that look for?" "My, my, cauliflower... You sure know how to pick 'em." "Excuse me?" "You know... Mimi." "What about her?" Anna sighed in frustration, "You luuurv her!"

Colin's appearance, much to Anna's delight, turned from disinterested and nonchalant to that similar of a rabbit caught in headlights. "W-what? No, I do not. I just-" "You think she's gorgeous, you want to kiss her, you want to-" Colin's hand clamped over the brunette's mouth, cutting off her singsong tone. "Just... be quiet, alright? I don't-" As though realising what he was doing, he yanked his hand away as though her skin was electric. "Ahem. Let's just go." H quickly turned on his heel, speeding away with short, nervous steps. Anna smirked at his retreating back, before singing quietly to herself, "You want to hug her, you want to smooch her..."




Anna had been exceedingly pleased to run into Mimi once more, and, although Colin feigned chagrin, it was easy enough to tell that he was at least slightly enjoying both the company and the evening. At this moment, Colin took a seat on the other side of Mimi, leaning his elbows on his knees and allowing his wrists to dangle. He looked slightly bored, but then again, he rarely didn't, and Anna hoped that the raucousness wouldn't be enough to deter him from hanging about so early on.

Upon Mimi's demand, Anna had dropped down into the dust beside her, one denim-clad leg bent beneath her, and the other stretched out in front, her back leaning against a rather large tree stump. The fire, with its crackling heat and its flickering glow, seemed to glaze the entire event in a warm and pleasant atmosphere, and the many teenagers attended ensured that there would be no shortage of public displays of affection (a quarter of which Mimi would probably be involved in, at this rate) or adolescent drama.

"So tell me about yourself, Anna."

Upon the curly-haired girl's second command, however, Anna faultered, wondering what she could possibly say. It was always difficult talking about yourself, despite in reality, there being no one you knew more about. And thus, Anna shrugged. "What's there to tell?" She thought for a beat, before ticking off fast facts as though reading from a list. "Ah, well... I'm Colin's stepsister, although I didn't actually know that until a couple of weeks ago... Uh... I grew up in England... " She smiled, "Oh, actually... there is one thing..." With an increasing excitement, she reached for a twig. Clutching it gently, she concentrated, picturing another form in her mind. Slowly, the twig's brittle surface began to soften and color, the harsh bark replacing itself with smooth green. From the end, petals began to emerge, forming into a spherical shape. The rose was thornless, its blossom a pale, creamy white, the edges touched with pearl. With a flourish, Anna offered the flower to her friend, "Ta d-" In a split second, the colour shrivelled back to brown, and the skin hardened into back. Anna clutched the twig, mid-flourish and proud smile frozen on her face. "Shit. Okay. Well, it usually stays for a while."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan

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Daniel does not particularly enjoy the bonfires, but never misses a year. There is some enjoyment to be had in watching fools become greater imbeciles under the influence of the night sky and alcohol. To some degree he admires the amount of freedom the faculty are willing to give when it comes to Summer festivities such as this one, but on the other hand fears they merely reveal the truth of the institution: even those considered impossibly gifted, impossibly bright, or impossibly important, can make asses of themselves without little thought in regards to it.

Still, he is more inclined to get in just a bit more reading before leaving to attend the annual event, and for this reason arrives a bit late. It is the time he takes to press a ribbon into the page, to straighten his cuffs, to make sure the novel is placed in exactly the correct spot on his alphabetized shelf, which prevents him from being their to loom over Nina when she first arrives. These are the little details he regrets when he finally does arrive at the bonfire to see the flame hungrily licking the sky, mirroring the sudden cold fury in his eyes when he watches as Cameron, hardly worth his time and certainly not worth Nina's, wrenches her away from one of the duchesses. But he holds himself back- the queen must be given a chance to flex her muscles before a knight is justified in jumping in. Thus, he remains still, entire body tightened like a shadow waiting to expand and swallow the bonfire whole. His face is an unbreachable wall, but a single clench fist.

Cameron's arm springs forward. Daniel takes a quick step, still somewhat restrained.

Nina is forcefully pulled through the air. Daniel frowns. Cameron moves to finish his slur, and everything seems to go black.

Daniel is moving. His fist is hitting Cameron's nose. Cameron returns in kind, but Daniel seems unfazed, robotic. He has his arm around Cameron's throat, forcing him to the ground. Daniel may be a sleek darkness, but beneath his sleek exterior is a sort of carnal rage released in only these unique sorts of situations. The young man is already known to be feared for his ability to destroy with a handful of whispers in the right ear, but many do not realize the force he normally keeps locked and heavily guarded.

There are no teachers in sight. Cameron is only able to splutter, his ability to fight back weakened by a cocktail of air loss and alcohol. Many of the students started out cheering, but have since faded to grim silence, staring. Daniel does not notice them, instead seeing only Nina. He looks at her, waiting some indication that she is okay. It is the thumb of the emperor decideing a gladiator's fate. Whether Daniel would actually kill the man is difficult to say.

Without a doubt, there is dark rage in his eyes.

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A few minutes prior to the Influentials' ordeal, Keevan sits at one of the smaller fires, jesting with friends about who is the most likely to end up with whom at the end of the night. Some of his friends beside him discussing asking people to dance in just a little bit when a few fireworks are shot up to indicate the first dance. They toss in bets and comments about the bigger players among the Yearlies, guessing some things will remain the same: year long couples, close friends, etc, who tend to dance with one another every year. "Think there will be any surprises this year?" Louis, a boy with curly red hair and freckles asks Keevan. He is known among friends to have a wicked instinct for these sort of things.

"Huh? Oh. Well, you never know," his response is vague and distracted, more important things being at hand. Literally in hand is his cell phone, a message already typed out to be sent. He seems to be pondering his decision to write it, but does not do so for long. With a lopsided sort of smile, half amused and half strangely hopeful, in his optimistically manipulative kind of way, he finally presses send. By the time he does this, all hell seems to have broken loose at the bigger bonfire.

Naturally, Keevan must excuse himself from the group in order to rush over and sneak a peak of what's going down around the bonfire dominated at least half by Influentials. They also manage to find the best spots long before the night begins, and save all of them such that every Influential has a choice seat. Luckily, most everyone else is content to sit around one of the smaller bonfires for the majority of the night.

Even Keevan cannot help but be shocked at the dark shadow that is Daniel Ahn as the young man darts forward to intervene in a situation clearly going south. The fact that no one else had acted by now is nearly sickening but unsurprising, given Nina's thumbtack reputation. Even Rebecca is off to the side, perhaps still somewhat surprised by the sudden cutting into her dance. Keevan moves to grab her attention, and eventually is able to make eye contact. He gestures for her to check her cell phone, and grins.

To: Rebecca
Ask me to dance with you during the bonfire dance. Take your mind off of the Influentials- and what you say behind their back.


Undeniable their is a tinge of blackmail in the text, though Keevan writes it off as being more of a friendly encouragement. How else would he ever get Rebecca to dance with him, after all? He may be an asshole, but he's one with some sort of affection, it seems. Not that she'd ever be clued in on that.

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Erin is smiling, beaming really, and at least half of this is because Lane is smiling again. It is so heartbreaking to see Lane upset that when she becomes happy again, it sends her best friend over the moon. Erin would bend over backwards for her friend, after all. For now, it is enough to laugh and attempt to keep her hand steady at the same time, no small feat, as Lane holds a lighter up to her sparkler and attempts to light it. These are the little things which make Erin forget about Nina and Sterling and all of that drama, and just want to look at stars and build beautiful machines. These are the nights she adores most of all, fire illuminated the sky, still overshadowed by the radiance of the people around her.

Side by side with Lane, she rushes to draw out shapes that disappear as quickly as she can imagine them. She draws until the sparkler reaches its end, a faithful tool breathing its last breath. And they are off to find the successors of these noble weapons now retired, searching out the nearest table for more sparklers. Impulsive, perhaps a bit stupid, and given renewed optimism by the light of the fire and the stars, Erin takes a twisted Lemonade and lifts it in toast with Lane.

"C'mon, Lane- be my date to the dance? Unless you have someone in mind?" Erin is leading her friend to the main bonfire, eyebrows waggling, goofy smile in full swing. "I can play cupid, if so," unfortunately the offer is rather useless, because Erin, thanks likely to the fact that she isn't always the best at reading people, isn't the greatest of wingwomen.

"And we need to find Carr-" finally, Erin fades to silence as she reaches the bonfire, realizing that nothing is being spoken above a whisper. She dances along the edge of the crowd trying to get a peak of what's going on, but instead can only hear- Nina's name, along with Daniel and Cameron. What now? Erin wonders, suddenly very much thirsty for a few more swigs of her drink.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Anna-Marie Beckett Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Mimi Arquette Character Portrait: Colin Dartonay

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" Well that's quite alright, " She said to Anna. She laughed lightly and looked up at the sky, " To be beautiful and loved, even for the smallest of time is a gift. " Even with the smile she donned, torment and sadness flashed through her eyes. However, just like a shooting star, as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. Ariel used to say that all the time. It always bothered Mimi because... well Ariel was beautiful. Not like generic beautiful, but really beautiful on the inside and out. Being around her had been like being around the sun. In the same way many say being around Mimi was like basking in the moon.

Ever observant Mimi witnessed the fight. She raised an eyebrow but made no comment. She did however find it amusing that the ice king melted for her cold queen. She simply tucked that away in her mind for later purposes. Beyond that she notices that romance seems to be flitting through the air. Romance might be the right word, lust maybe. Lust fueled by alcohol and the drugs that she disdained. She shook her head, deciding to not focus on that tonight. " I like England, but I like France much better. They have macaroons, I love macaroons. Colin," She said leaning her head on Anna's shoulder. She absently played with the twig as she talked, her bell like voice twinkling amidst the chaos around them. " Reminds me of a macaroon. They're cold and they look like they'd be hard. They're cute, but appear kind of boring in comparison to other french treats. However, with all that in mind I find myself unable too give up on the treats. Want to know why?" She said widening her eyes and raising her eyebrows. With a lazy smile she drawled, " Because, they are so delicious on the inside. "

After watching the celebration unfold Mimi quickly became bored and cold. Even with the summer air they were near water and a cool breeze was beginning to blow past them. " I'm cold, " she whined. Easing off of Anna's shoulder she sat upright and plucked the ponytail out of her hair. Making her mass of hair fall around her like heavy waves crashing on a beach. Her hair fell around her haphazardly but it was somehow comforting and blocked the wind from chilling her sensitive ears. She ran a hand through her hair, tossing her bangs to one side. With a raised eyebrow she slid over to Anna, then pronounced her "not warm enough", then back to Colin who, as men do, was radiating heat. " Good enough, " Again without even a warning she draped her arm around his midsection and leaned her body against him. " Why are boys so much warmer than girls? " She asked absentmindedly, " You're like freaking heaters. "

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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Lucas was sitting and fretting over the matter of confronting Aimee about his secret when a wave of reverence and fear seemed to run through the crowd, and thus his mind. "The princess is here," some thought with excitement. Others referred to her as a Queen. Or a means to power, a beauty goddess, a snake poised to strike. Finally he caught a name, Nina. Through others' eyes it was plain to see she was beautiful, but given people's tendencies to distort things in their heads, he felt the need to see her for himself.

She was stunning, in more than one sense of the word. Confusing too--her eyes, her actions, they gave off an aura of cold calculation, of elitism, and almost, almost of some kind of evil (and clearly many, many people in the crowd had no trouble thinking of her in such a way). But her thoughts were...well, a fragmented mess, some part of her delighting in the glory, the attention, the fear; some part of her hating it; other parts wanting to scream, to cry, to dance, to laugh. Lucas bit his tongue sharply so as to retreat from her mind; the pain brought him, as much as it could, back to the bonfire and the night rather than other people's heads. He'd encountered minds like hers before. In his experience, the best thing was to stay far, far, far away from people like that, though he couldn't articulate why.

The crowd had been getting more intoxicated and stoned and beyond as the night wore on, and Lucas began to sway with nausea. Wonderful, I forgot about this. Yet another reason why he didn't like going to parties at all. This has been a failure of a night. I spilled a drink on a guy, made a girl find out my secret, made exactly 0 friends and had exactly no fun. He looked around at the hooting and hollering crowd, brow furrowed. I think it's time to leave.

At that moment, alarum bells went off in his head, making him flinch. He turned back to the congregation to see a boy, Daniel, knight to the princess, beating the shit out of another, Cameron. Daniel's thoughts were the cold instinct of a predator, wordless, ruthless, and Lucas made a mental note to avoid him too. Cameron's were similarly wordless but of quite an opposite nature. ??? What? I look away for 5 seconds and this happens?!

To the side, Nina was silently staring at--well it couldn't precisely be called a fight--at the beatdown, surprise in her eyes quickly being replaced by a creeping, icy glare. Her thoughts were tumultous but there was a darkness that Lucas caught in them that seemed all too familiar. A chill went down his spine.

Cameron's thoughts were weakening as his grip on consciousness did and a miniscule voice in Lucas' head shouted, Do something! And before he had time to second guess this, to refuse, his mouth opened and to Daniel, whose thoughts ran in 한국어, he shouted hoarsely, "그만해!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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Lane reaches into a nearby cooler and pulls a Twisted Lemonade out of the ice. She pops the top off and holds in up. Her glass clinks agains Erin's, Lane shouts.
"Cheers! Here's to summer, sparklers, air conditioning, senior year, and to us!" She pressed the glass to her lips, downing half the drink instantly. Lane promises herself that she will keep her limit to 3 drinks tonight, it was only smart thinking.

Soon enough Erin is dragging her along. They walk towards the main bonfire and Erin brings up the question of who Lane might like to dance with that night. In that moment, at almost perfect timing, Lane spots Aimee at rest on one of the metal benches. The two had not spoken in over 2 months and it made Lane so antsy thinking about it. She wanted to badly for Aimee to come to her and dance with her, and act as though they had no history together what so ever. But this was a fantasy, a mere scene played out in Lane's head and soon her attention was turned back to Erin.
"Uh nope! No one! I'm all yours! How's my hair?" She questions linking her arm around Erin's, they near the bonfire. "Oh and there's Anthony by the way... or Carr or whatever..." Lane points across the way to where Carr sits down next to Aimee on the bench. The two girls have approached the center bonfire though at the site of a large crowd forming.

Erin and Lane are not the tallest of the bunch at Laurel. Lane at a solid 5'3 and Erin, barely an inch taller. This makes it rather hard to see into the center at what it going on. Lane hears Nina's name being whispered and grabs Erin's hand instinctively. She does not want to face Nina with out Erin beside her ever again in her life.
"Erin lets just go by Carr..." Lane trails off disinterested in what ever may be the center of attention. Her current one track mind still thinking of Aimee.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan

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#, as written by Saerith
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Anthony was never the most observant of people, but even he could tell something very strange was going on, by the expression on the boy's face, by the strange silence that hovered over them while Aimee and Lucas stared meaningfully at each other. Still confused, he felt Aimee's arm wrap around his, pulling his gaze to her as she spoke. The weak sound of her voice and her paleness surprised and concerne him, she, who before was cheerful and bright, now seemed shaken and... Scared? Anthony awkwardly looked at Lucas, offering him a confused, discrete smile, with the intention of being friendly or excusing himself and Aimee before walking along said girl to one of the metal benches placed close to the fire. He helped her sit down and carefully placed his arm around her shoulders, checking again on her odd expression. He felt like he was missing something, but honestly, this wasn't very unusual when he was around Aimee. Although he himself possessed powers that affected his own mind and that of the subject, he could never understand how she felt or how the power worked, so he could only assume that it was better to just go along and let her rest. "Aimee, Jesus. You look awful. What happened back there? Did you hurt yourself?"

As much as he wished to hold her quietly until she felt better, the peace was clearly disrupted sooner than anyone expected. Carr noticed the cheering and haunting silence before the actual fight. He stared at all the blood-thirsty, excited faces before his gaze landed on the dark figure of Daniel Ahn, his face calm and ethereal against the light produced by the flames, going at Cameron. A few steps away from him, Rebecca Sayre and Nina Romanov stood quietly, staring at the fight from the best seats in the house without any sign they meant to interfere in anyway. Anthony watched in awe, forgetting for a moment that Aimee rested under his arm. As Daniel held Cameron to the ground and tension increased all around, Carr spotted Erin and Lane, moving amongst the frozen crowd like a fish swimming through a still stream. Although a little bothered by Lane's presence - again, nothing personal, but Carr felt like there were already enough strangers around - he gestured widely while still holding on to Aimee in an attempt to catch they're attention which, strangely, wasn't focused on what appeared to be the event of the night. As they approached, he thirstily sipped at his drink, anxious and impatient.

"Erin, hey!" he shouted when they came closer, than lowered his voice to a kind of loud whisper "Did you see it? What's going on?" Staring back at Aimee, he felt a little guilty for not paying more attention, so he turned to her with a soft smile "You feeling any better, cookie?"





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Sitting on the soft grass, staring at the sky, Becky had been lost in thought. A few Influentials sat around her, chatting cheerfully and singing, even whispering into each other's ears, but when asked a question, she would simply nod and concur with a soft "sure". In her mind, she counted the stars, one by one, and gave them the names of people she had known. Nina was the brightest, biggest one, of course, although her favorite was reserved for her own name. That stare was surely the first one people would look at, always, but it was far away from all others. Around it, a large pitch black piece of sky. Maybe, she would overshine all other stars if they came any closer. A little to the left, there was a smaller one that looked like a hole poked through the sky. That was Daniel, stiff and distinguished, she thought with a smile. Still further away from all the stars than he was to star Nina. The seconds most bright, which was kind of irregular, her roommate Erin. And that pinkish flick of light in the corner was Keevan. It was different from all the stars, but you could only tell if you looked hard, cause it was so close to all of them.

She was staring at it when she felt Nina’s soft lips brush against her skin. ”Hey girl. I’ve been waiting for you for ages. Come here.” She got up gracefully and accompanied Nina’s sensual movements. She heard the commotion around them and felt the stares, but they were almost like a soft blow to her ear as she allowed her right hand to snake around Nina’s hip, caressing her skin with the tips of her fingers. Becky wasn’t one to ever feel sexuality attracted to anyone, really, but Nina’s voice sent a chill down her spine and made her stomach turn. She opened her mouth to say a few words but, before she could, Nina was suddenly yanked away. As Cameron held her instead, she had a sinking feeling in her chest and stood there a bit confused, but when his hand grabbed Nina’s wrist, her eyes widened and she took a step forward. This… This isn’t suppose to happen. Daniel should be here. Someone do something. Disgusting. God everyone’s looking let her go het thoughts were confusing and she felt a mixture of fear for Nina, shame for Cameron and pity for herself This… this is bad. In that exact moment, Daniel showed up she launched forward, holding Nina by the shoulders as Cameron was pushed away from her. ”Fucking asshole. Look at how pathetic he is. Gosh, so gross. her words were honest, to her eyes, no matter how she felt about Nina or Daniel, Cameron was a vermin and honestly, maybe he should die. It made her sick.

While she watched the fight, her eye caught Keevan on the other side of the circle that formed around the four of them. She stared at him blankly for a moment before realizing what he was signalizing. She wrapped only one arm to Nina’s, looking at her to make sure she wasn’t looking, and checked her phone discretely with her free hand. The text made her heart stop. She had completely forgotten about the dance, and was astonished by the fact Keevan - or anyone, for that matter - hadn’t. It should start in about five minutes and, as Becky did every year, she had secretly hoped to be invited to dance by someone completely new and exciting who would sweep her off her feet. Apparently, she had Keevan. Didn’t he realize how indiscrete this would be? How she simply couldn’t go ahead and ask him to dance, in the position they were in? But the message was clear. She had no choice. And honestly, it didn’t really seem… That bad. She kept her head down and lifted his eyes at him. A smile that was a mixture of sarcasm and tease crossed her lips, one that anyone would mistake for sadism upon watching Daniel wait for Nina’s orders. This was what Becky did. The face she wore should, at all times, fit all purposes.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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Aimee smiled gratefully at Anthony as he helped her sit down on the metal bench. She had tried not to show her weakness so much, but she knew Carr would have seen it immediately. That was just how they worked. She shook her head when he asked if she had hurt herself, "No, just a little bit of an overload." She had never been able to come up with any other word for the ordeal, since that was the most accurate. It literally was just several buckets of information coursing through her. She knew it would go away soon and she would recharge, but she also didn't like the fact that she was being like this surrounded by all of her schoolmates. It would have been different had her and Anthony been alone, but there was nothing she could really do about that. She closed her eyes and focused on centering herself, not choosing to process the fact that there was basically an altered version of herself on the campus. From what she could tell, however, he only could get bursts of thought instead of entire years like Aimee could. "Hey, do you know if--" she'd started to ask Carr, but was quickly interrupted by the approach of Erin and...Lane. Mustering up her strength which was slowly but surely returning to her, she nodded a greeting.

Her and Lane had completely avoided each other since the ominous night two months ago. In fact, this was the first time they had been this close since then. Aimee looked up at Lane worriedly. She was really not in the mental position to assess her feelings, and from the looks of Lane, the girl in front of her was thinking of her. Aimee had already...made contact...with Lane so there was nothing hidden between them. Of course, a lot had to have happened in the past two months that Aimee didn't know. If she weren't already reeling from the Lucas discovery, she might have thought about casually laying her hand on the other girl, just to get a read on her thoughts. Lane knew of her ability, so of course she would know what Aimee was trying to do. In the end, however, it was a moot point since it would be suicide for Aimee to try and use her power now.

Anthony addressed her again and she smiled, a bit of color returning to her face. "I'd probably be a lot better if you stopped addressing me on an empty stomach," she joked with him in her usual sarcastic manner. Hopefully that would instill some sign in him that she was okay.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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#, as written by Layla
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      XXX
      XXX
      XXXCameron's fingers dug into her wrist, freeing the panic she kept tightly caged in the pit of her stomach. She shut her eyes to veil the vicious quirk playing on Cameron's lips, the people who watched and stared and did absolutely nothing, but more than that, to keep the terror threatening to overflow from her tear ducts at bay. Suddenly, the pressure of Cameron's hands was gone and she opened her eyes to the sound of bone crunching.
      XXXShock paralysed her. Daniel rammed a fist into Cameron's jaw, his eyes, again and again and again. Something twisted inside Nina, a bitterness that relished the sound of Cameron's groans and Daniel's fist colliding with his cheek. It was horrible, cruel, just another tally in Nina's reign of terror.
      XXX”Fucking asshole. Look at how pathetic he is. Gosh, so gross." Becky's voice nudged her attention but Nina could not look away from the scene unfolding before her. Nina pressed her lips firmly together to hide the tremble on her bottom lip. Becky had no idea. Becky who was beautiful, perfect and loved, Becky whom nearly everybody would sooner bow to than her, she would never know what it was like to be gross. To be Nina.
      XXXDisgusting, something in her hissed. Dirty. Used.
      XXXBecky's smile at the corner of Nina's eye proved her theory right. Becky didn't care. Nina didn't know why it hurt for her belief to be confirmed. None of the Elites truly cared. Until now, she hadn't believed Daniel did either. But why would he risk it? Why ruin his reputation as the collected gentleman or risk the wrath of the academy to strike against Cameron? Doing so would help him in no manner, shape or form. But it helped her. He helped her. Why?
      XXXThe bark of a foreign language - Daniel's language, she recognised - and the sudden appearance of someone Nina did not know jarred her from the thoughts jostling like nails and needles in her mind. Cameron laid on the ground, the arms he held in front of his face to shield Daniel's blows now limp at his sides. He was quiet now, his protests still.
      XXXNina took a step forward and knelt beside Cameron's body. She reached out an arm to block Daniel's next blow. He froze before he hit her, his body locked tight, coiled like a magnet that was pulled by the urge to collide his fist with Cameron's jaw. Nina curled her fingers gently around Daniel's fist and for a brief pause, noted that Daniel's hands were bigger than she'd thought before. They dwarfed hers in comparison. She'd always marvelled at the elegance of his fingers - long and slender, they were the envy of all pianists - but she hadn't known those hands were capable of brute force. He'd always been so covert. But she noticed then a ferocity in his gaze that veered from his usual calm demeanour. The muscles he gained from his daily runs were prominent, and they were capable of great strength. Terrifying strength.
      XXX"Enough," she whispered.
      XXXSlowly, gently, she pried his bloody fist open, running her fingers along the edge of them so she didn't aggravate his wounds. Then she bowed her head, and placed a soft kiss on his hand. Thank you, the gesture seemed to say, but that would be incomprehensible. The Queen thanked no one. Leaning back, Nina pressed a palm to her Second's and locked their fingers together. She pulled him up.
      XXXA wry smile formed on her lips as she stared down at Cameron's moaning form, her heart still hammering in her chest. She clutched Daniel's hand to hide how hers were shaking.
      XXX"That's enough for today, class," she said with a brow, lifted with what appeared to be amusement. "Hope you learned your lesson, Hillcock."
      XXXShe turned to the boy who'd interrupted in Korean, her eyes flaming with amusement. Her body moved as if on autopilot, the words as if she were an actress reading from a script. A Grammy-award winning actress. She felt no amusement, no humour, nothing except the incessant mess of regret and fear. But this time, there was gratitude, and something else she could not name. She stared at the unknown figure with accessing eyes.
      XXX"Brave," she offered. "But ultimately unnecessary. It'll take more than a few punches to bring this guy down. His over-inflated sense of self-worth ensures his head remains afloat at all times."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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His fist connects against skin, Cameron incapable of putting up a decent fight for very long at all. When the man before him finally gives up on defense, allowing his arms to hang limp and his face to be used as an object, a punching bag. Any reasonable person would have stopped at that point, seeing that there was no struggle. Daniel is normally a very reasonable man, cold and rational, but this does not appear to be the normal Daniel. This is the Hyde to his Jekyl, the blurred vision and red hot feeling that he normally is able to smother until not even embers remain. Perhaps Sam had been the only one to ever know how incredibly deeply Daniel is capable of feeling. His emotions are so repressed that then why are finally released, it is the starved lion let out of it's cage, desperate and unrestrained. It is perhaps for the best that he plans never to fall in love, for the depth of such an emotion would likely rip him out from the inside until he is reduced to a terribly jealous, overbearing person who covets and monopolizes all time and attention. He may be tall, sleek, and elegant, but Daniel is in this way very much a desperate child.

A desperate child in the body of a young man with strong hands and fast reflexes is a dangerous thing indeed. People around him whisper, half frightened half amused, but Daniel is incapable of processing it. At this moment, he is not thinking in words, but in actions and movements. This classmate of his had crossed a dangerous line in threatening one of the few people Daniel cared for. It is a sin the young man cannot forgive. So he attempts to tear the feeling of Nina's skin out of Cameron's mouth, blacken his eyes until they cannot look so hungrily at his Queen. No one should be allowed to so much as eat scraps from her table without her say so, let alone mentally consume the girl herself. It is disgusting. Filthy.

The movement of emotion returns him back to the violence, forgetting briefly his waiting for Nina's words. Strangely enough, it is not her voice which pauses him next. No, rather than the tinted-glass tones of Nina's public voice, it is someone from the crowd. The voice is male, shouted in such a way which seems to convey someone accustomed to far lower volumes. This alone is interesting, though Daniel is only barely beginning to process more complex aspects to the people around him once more. Instead, the stand out is something which hits him with a slight delay. The words were spoken in Korean, his native tongue, standing out among the English he has become accustomed to. His head tilts up slightly, allowing his eyes to search the crowd for the voice. In this brief passage of time, Nina puts her hand around his still curled fist, putting a more definite end to the display.

Her hands are warm, unexpectedly. Usually they are cooler, though it is perhaps a mix of the flame near them and the situation which causes this. Her lips brush past his forehead, a familiar meeting of skin, and he understands the message better than anyone else here might. There is a strange sort of expression across his face, irritation at his own lack of control, contentment that Nina is alright. He needs only to breathe, and then relaxes, returning to his feet with Nina's hand firmly grasped in his own, fingers intertwined as he breathes and regains his flawless composure. Her hand is shaking in his, prompting him to tighten his grip.

The Queen needs to be steel before all else, but a knight can provide some support. It is a role which he takes great pride in, above all but the Royal herself. It is in this more normalized state that he is finally brought to meet eyes with the young man who had shouted to him in Korean- an introvert based on appearance. Nina speaks, while Daniel merely surveys the unfamiliar face. Behind them, the fireworks shoot into the air and explode, crackling brightly against the night sky. The crowd disperses to take part in the tradition, some finding partners while others go off to sit in groups or alone. Daniel glances sideways at Nina- the Queen must attend such ceremonies, after all. The center spot will likely be left for us- her, all the same, he muses, correcting his mistake. The spot is there for the head of the school, he just happens to be her companion- it could be any one of her choosing, after all. No one her is worthy, of course- not even myself.


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Erin hesitates briefly over the pause before Lane's response that she is perfectly free, but quickly dismisses it as her imagination. Little signs such as that may come across as blaring warning sign of something wrong to other people, but Erin is too quick to overlook them. This is perhaps because she herself is so inclined towards honesty, and is so blatant in her facial expressions, that she assumes others will be as well if they have something they want to tell her. Thus Erin is never the person to first discover secrets unless they are told to her- often she gets her information third hand, when it is known to most people and already slightly warped. It is a very good thing she does not hold a position requiring political skill, for she has zero.

Normally Lane tells her everything, making her all the more unsuspecting that her best friend is harboring any secrets or intense crushes that Erin doesn't know about. Why worry over something of that sort where there has been no precedent? Thus she grins and joins the linking of arms, not realizing that in reserving her friend as a dance party she is making all the more unlikely a much desired pairing. So much for a modern day cupid.

Another long drink of her twisted lemonade, and Erin looks over at Lane. The suggestion that they leave the situation and go to Carr and Aimee is incredibly reasonable. Still, as they walk over she can't help peeking back for glimpses of Nina's hair between people, of Daniel's hand in hers. Feeling sick, thanks in no part to the drink, Erin ducks her head slightly and follows with more focus. When they reach the pairing, she is smiling once more, recovered from the wave of discomfort. It is in no small part thanks to seeing Carr, whom she hasn't seen since the previous evening. And based on the smell and his loud whispering, the young man had been drinking. She grins and gives him a quick hug in greeting."Carr, my love. A fight, I guess? I don't know, not my business I guess," her expression gives away this untruth, her curiosity betraying her in a twist of her mouth. With slightly more force than necessary, she takes another drink. The world is gradually beginning to soften because of it, allowing her to think less. For this, Erin is grateful. She wants light and warmth from this evening, not discomfort or pain. Another drink. The world is softer still.

The fireworks in the air are a vision of color, flowers exploding into fantastical shapes, aided by a mix of powers and inventiveness. Their forms ought to be impossible, and normally this would frustrate Erin to some degree. Instead, she merely smiles at the sight, then looks to Lane. The music is beginning, heard over the chatter and booming pyrotechnic display.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan

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#, as written by Saerith
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After offering Aimee a wide smile, showing how glad he was she could still be her normal, sarcastic self, he quickly finished his second drink and got up with the intention of getting her whatever food he could find and properly greeting Erin. However, as soon as he was off his chair, blue, red, green beautiful light bursted into the sky violently like ravenous dragons. Anthony’s smile became even broader and he let out a small sigh. He had always found fireworks absolutely magical, and watching them from the actual fire, instead of his dorm window, was even more fascinating than he could have ever thought. They filled his mind with happy, warm thoughts about home and his mother, and he suddenly felt a need to hold his few, loving friends. His arm wrapped around Erin’s and he turned to Lane, trying to get the words in his mind to come out properly.

“Actually, Lane, uhm ah… Would you… I wanted to dance a little, so… I mean, would you mind terribly grabbing something for… Aimee still doesn’t feel very well. I can come back in a second.” Carr felt like his tongue felt weird inside his mouth as he spoke, and just hoped desperately that Lane would somehow get the message out of his incoherent mumbling. Then, he looked at Erin like a small boy looks at a shiny new toy. “Can we dance? I’m kinda nervous, but I think it’ll be fun. Can we?”

He didn’t really wait for a confirmation and simply dragged Erin closer and closer to the fire, waving at the other two girls, until they stoop right in the concentration of couples swaying gently to the music. Carr awkwardly held Erin like he supposed people did when they danced and looked around, trying to mimic other people’s movements as they spun around them. He modestly sticked to basic steps, putting all his effort into not stepping in Erin’s feet. “So, tell me. Am I suppose to believe you, missy, of all people, isn’t the least bit curious about that fight? It was a really bad fight, I saw it. Daniel Ahn was about to bash that guy’s head in.” His voice had a mixture of fright and anxiety. He just knew that, even if Erin didn’t know a thing about it, she’d wanna find out.





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Becky looked around, almost as to ensure safe territory for her to approach Keevan. It didn’t take much for her, or anyone really, to notice Daniel’s meaningful gaze towards Nina as the crowd slowly disperses, and Rebecca smiles at the sight. There was a ironic humor about approaching her lips to the Queen’s right ear as Daniel would do as she whispered ”Your savior awaits, Your Highness.” She gave one last squeeze to the girl’s shoulder and walked away slowly, following both her so called friends with her eyes until they no longer seemed to notice her presence, distracted by one another. She finds Keevan again, and this time, she doesn’t smiles. He stands on the other side holding a grin to his lips, and she stares back with an eyebrow raised before walking in his direction, swaying her hips and adjusting a strand of hair, which partially covered her face, behind her right ear. Pausing one step away from him, she raised her hand in a rather snobbish gesture, offering him her hand as if she was gifting him with a precious, delicate diamond.

“Would you do yourself the honor of accompanying me to the dance, Mister Brennan?” She asked in a tone that was nothing but gentle. Once their hands touch, Becky tries to hold back a smile and keep her expression of debauchery. His hand was warm and there were calluses in his fingers. She had always pictured him with his laptop, typing furiously the lines that could destroy the finest of reputations within minutes, but sometimes actually forgot he was an actual writer, and a new image of Keevan, laying in bed with paper, pen, and a entire world of his own creation replaced the other one she had in mind. ”You really are like that one tiny pinkish star. Except you’re kind of crazy, or stupid. Did you really think me asking you to dance is the type of thing that wouldn’t end up in the Breadbowl?” She didn’t take her eyes off of him for one seconds while leading him determinedly further away from the fire, at the very darkest stop where people were still dancing. It was a bit cold, and with the short dress she wore, Becky could feel the summer breeze caress her skin, but at least it was harder to be seen away from the light. At that moment, the fireworks went off above them, causing Rebecca to look up. How beautiful she thought, as a thousand colors filled her eyes and how useless. I’ll never be like that. Then, after the loud cracking sounds ceased, she noticed the music also sounded softer and more clear without all the talking, so they could easily understand each other.

”You intrigue me, sugar. I hope you really are expecting to take my mind off things, because I haven’t seen Nina all day, so I’ve got nothing.” She spoke a bit harshly while sliding both her hands along Keevan’s shoulders until she reached the base of his nape. It was hard to tell if she was mad or content about his attitude, but truth is even she was torn between wanting to please the man who held all secrets that could destroy her in one hand and actually being concerned by being seen with him. She knew, however, it was better to be gentle while with him. Honestly, it was easier too.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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Lucas didn't know how loud his voice was, or if Daniel would even hear it, but as soon as the word was out of Lucas' mouth the delayed waves of refusal, fear, and now panic set in. You idiot, drawing attention to yourself from the two most prominent influential and terrifying people in the school on your very first day?! You're going to get yourself socially massacred...again...

But Daniel heard it, and paused, more perplexed than angry at Lucas's shout-- even in instinct-mode he analyzed the cry with a precision which creeped Lucas out, to be frank.

Nina snapped out of the trance she seemed to be in, though her thoughts were just as if not more confused, and stoppered Daniel's rage with a disturbing ease. Whether Daniel's roboticism or Nina's power over him had more to do with this, Lucas couldn't say.

Nina then started to approach - Nina, whose hands were trembling, whose heart was hammering, whose mind was lost in regret and fear and something not even Lucas could put a name to. Yet who, despite all this, spoke with an amused sarcasm, her brows quirked to just the right angle, looking as cold and elegant as frost on a windowpane.

Everything about her is a lie, Lucas realized. And worse, an incredibly familiar lie: affected sardonicism, distant apathy, a carefully constructed wall to hide an ugly pile of wreckage and debris. All of these things he understood far too well.

Lucas started to wonder if the Romanov princess was more like him, the lowly outcast, than possibly anyone else realized.

"Brave," she said to him, and a few more meaningless words to hide the significance of that description. She was staring intently at him now, and oh God, so was Daniel, and Lucas begin to blush nervously under their scrutiny despite himself. He managed to return Nina's gaze for a bit but soon enough had to avert his eyes, settling them awkwardly on her chin. He wanted to say something to her but Daniel was standing right there; plus, what Lucas was planning on saying he couldn't imagine Nina wanting anyone else to hear. Or possibly even herself to hear, for that matter.

He closed his eyes and mentally scanned the crowd for any Russian speakers aside from Nina. There was one guy it seemed, but he was out on the edge of the party, far from the scene.

Lucas opened his mouth to speak, but right then a thrill ran through the crowd and he realized that fireworks has started. Fireworks? Really? How pompous can this school get? And just my friggin luck too. People's thoughts, including Nina's and Daniels, turned to the dance that was apparently imminent and which Lucas wanted to stay far away from, so he had to say this quickly or not at all.

Boom! Pop! The fireworks crackled. At a pause which Lucas carefully measured by listening through other people's ears, he opened his eyes, looking straight at Nina, and spoke.

"Нина--" Pop! Bang! "Ты тоже смелый." Another bout of fireworks went off but Lucas still stood there, deliberating whether to say his next sentence. A brief silence. "Всё в порядке?"

Come to think of it, it was probably extremely stupid to be speaking in different languages like this. He began to panic a bit. If they ask, I'll...I'll just say that's my power. Yeah. Languages. That sounds good. He nervously waited for her response, and possibly, possibly a punch in the face.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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Lane and Erin walk in step down to the bench where Aimee and Carr sit quietly. The closer they get the more Lane starts to realize she doesn't have anything planned out for what she will say to Aimee, her heart beat quickens and she makes a second worths of eye contact with the girl sitting before her. The two don't speak right away upon seeing each other. Instead they exchange awkward looks and Aimee seems to avoid looking at both girls.

Erin instantly engages in conversation with Carr, unaware of the tension between the other girls. She'd never been to keen on picking up signals and for that Lane was grateful. Lane never quite understood what Erin saw in Carr. To Lane he was young and stand-of-ish, usually very quiet. He had powers though, which she knew only a bit about from Erin's mentions. Carr and Lane were extremely mutual to each other, and only exchanged words when Erin was there as well, similar to this moment now. Carr stands up, he turns to Lane trying to explain he wants to dance with Erin. Each sentence he spouts it cut off by the next and he mumbles his words. Lane opens her mouth to protest but nothing comes out. With that Carr whisks Erin away leaving before anything else can be said and Aimee and Lane are left alone. She probably would have been more upset Carr stole her date if it hadn't been that Aimee was the one she was left with. All Lane's attention it turned to Aimee now.

"Hi." Lane spoke letting out her breath, which she didn't realize she'd been holding quite a while. She sits down on the bench next to Aimee, keeping about a foot and a halves distance. "How are you? I mean like tonight....not about us.... Are you hungry? What do you need? We don't have to talk about anything if you don't want too..." Lane pauses and presses her hands again her thighs. "I want too..." She adds quietly looking into Aimee's soft green eyes. Lane bites her lip during the silence that follows. Her heart pounds in her chest wondering how long it will take for Aimee and her to at least be friends again.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Rebecca Sayre Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart Character Portrait: Keevan Brennan

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Anthony is definitely tipsy at the very least. Erin had seen that he had a drink in his hand, and had guessed he might be buzzed, but the clumsiness of his tongue and a slight unevenness of foot when he stood to greet her makes it clear that her supposings were well-founded. Perhaps he felt it necessary in order to get through the night- Erin is pleasantly surprised he had elected to come at all, given how he rejected her urgings last year and the year before. So long as she is there to make sure he doesn't do anything too stupid -the irony of this thought lost on her warmed mind- Carr deserves a night of letting loose. So when he wraps his arm around hers and asks Lane if he can dance with Erin, the young woman easily joins in with an apologetic smile and a returned wrapping her arm around Anthony's, such that they are now linked. This close now, she can smell the alcohol on his breath. She is rather certain that he will be a warm fuzzy sort of drunk.

Erin finds Anthony adorable, in the way that she finds most of her friends to be absolutely delightful. The bashfulness as he asks to dance with her only adds to this. Her face lights up, matching the fire for luminescence with her beam. "It would be my very greatest honor," she responds, the last part of the sentence breaking with laughter as she follows Anthony towards the bonfire. She turns back and waves at Lane, mouthing a promise to dance with her later. Naturally, the girl is completely oblivious to the rather awkward situation she and Carr have left behind them.

His steps are careful, somewhat endearingly so, though Erin can't really criticize them- she herself is not exactly a graceful gazelle. Certainly, the girl has nimble hands, but her best dancing is that which is random, goofy, and certainly not meant to be taken seriously or mistaken as an attempt at elegance. Nina had always been the graceful one, while Erin jokingly twirled and spent hours trying to master the moonwalk. She is happy to just sway with her friend, making goofy faces and resisting the urge to bump into other couples like a bumper car.

"So, tell me. Am I suppose to believe you, missy, of all people, isn’t the least bit curious about that fight? It was a really bad fight, I saw it. Daniel Ahn was about to bash that guy’s head in." She ignores the question at first, leading Carr into a spin as the lead usually does the follow. It gives her time to assemble any proper response on the matter. That being said, factory made responses have never been the young woman's specialty. She makes the prototype, flawed and personal. Erin is easily hurt not because she is overly sensitive, but because she is easily taken hold of.

"Why should I care what Daniel and Nin- what Daniel and his kind are doing? Probably tormenting some poor innocent chap for scuffing his Prada shoes or something," She is beginning to become dizzy, despite the fact that they haven't really spun at all. Maybe it isn't the dancing doing it- the girl can normally twirl for days without getting sick. Her feigned apathy is transparent, almost pathetically so.

"Anyway, have anyone cute you want to talk to tonight? Now that you have the liquid confidence and an expert wingman?" It seems Erin has taken it into her mind tonight, probably due in some part to her drink, to help at least one friend have a summer romance. Too many 80s movies today might also have a portion of the blame.

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Keevan struggles to keep his expression neutral as Rebecca nears him. This would be incredibly dangerous territory for anyone less gifted at keeping up a farce than the novelist himself. After all, to a writer the truth is more easily stated between lines. And she is not close enough to read the truths between the way his eyes crinkle when he grins. She won't be for a while- not according to his estimations, anyway. Still, when she offers him her hand, every bit a duchess, and offers him the honor of it, the young man cannot help but to let a peek of a smile out of the corner of his mouth. He takes it, and in play with the bit, brushes his lips past her knuckles, every bit the gentleman with his arm crossed over his torso accordingly. "Oh, the honor is all yours, good madam," he murmurs, before looking up at her and winking.

He hardly even minds as she leads him away from the light, to dance in some shady secluded corner. In fact, the gutsiness of it amuses him, though perhaps the fact that stealing away to a shadowed area is more scandalous than dancing in a lit one is lost on her. He's not certain what she's speaking on, in regards to stars and whatnot, but does not move his eyes from hers throughout the conversation. When she has paused once more, he laughs, "And you and I running off to a nice dark corner isn't? My my, miss Sayre, this goes beyond my modest hope of dancing with you," he says this jokingly, of course, but still is intensely aware of the warmth in her hands as she wraps them around his neck for the dance.

He doesn't know how much of what she does is for fear of him releasing her secrets, but suspects it is all of it. The young woman apparently has very little indication that she holds far more sway over him than he, with all of his secrets, does over her. Perhaps it is best that way- should she realize, she might not stand so close to him. It is through his manipulation and deception that he may stand here with her, after all. Perhaps she will not dance with him in the light, but all things considered it is most appropriate for them to remain obscured by the dark. It suits their relationship painfully well, a parallel not lost on a boy who has made his name in language and literature.

He does not make any movements towards her, content to banter and sway in the shadows, to be a chore she must get done in order to keep everything running smoothly.

What a sad little writer.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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#, as written by Layla
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      XXX
      XXXShe sees the moment his mask slides down like a muzzle over his lips. For a wild, hopeless moment, she wants to peel it off. She wants to see him for who he is. This stranger she's known for three years and her only true ally. Who are you, Daniel?
      XXXBut she doesn't move. Doesn't speak. Instead, she turns away, pretending she doesn't see the words that fizzle and die before they have the chance to escape the tight reign of his control. Pretending, as always, that she has nothing but a few sly quips and apathetic remarks of her own. Daniel is composed. Still. His head hovering just above her own. She fits perfectly in the curve of his neck. She'd never noticed.
      XXXFireworks scatter the darkness looming above them. She stills her breathing and experiences a rare moment of pride. She didn't hyperventilate. That was something, was it not? But she was not as foolishly brave as the stranger looking at her now, or the stranger who seems to look at anyone but her, even though moments before he'd saved her from... Something.
      XXXIs it possible, she thinks. To save something that's already been lost?
      XXX"Нина."
      XXXHer name comes as a whisper, but it jars her nonetheless. Her eyes widen as a quiver runs through her titanium walls. It's been a while since she's heard her name pronounced as it should be, in the rich form of Russian vowels. For a second, she thinks she's home, or at least the address etched into her official papers. But the name comes from the boy whom moments prior, spoke Korean.
      XXX"Ты тоже смелый." You, too, are brave. "Всё в порядке?" Are you alright?
      Her world is silence. Only the sound of his voice strung into syllables tear through the fog, playing over and over and over again. Are you alright?
      XXXAre you alright?
      XXXIce encases her lips. Humiliation. Guilt. Regret. Misery. They press into every pore of her skin and they wind around her neck until they form a noose. A part of her hopes they will rise, pull tight, knock her off her feet and steal the breath from her lungs so she can rest. But how many days, weeks, months after her ordeal and Sterling's departure had she wished for those very words to be uttered? A simple sentence that might break the dam and free her if only she were brave enough to answer. But she wasn't brave. Isn't. No matter what this stranger - a stranger who knows her name - thinks he knows, he clearly does not know enough.
      XXXBecause Nina Romanov is the biggest coward of them all.
      XXXAre you alright? Erin had asked her. Fine, Nina had replied. Fine.
      XXXIf she could turn back time, she would punch herself in the face. She would force the truth from her mouth and tell Erin and Lane both that she was not fine. She wasn't fine at all. But she'd been waiting for someone else to ask. She'd been waiting for Sterling.
      XXXFool, the Queen in her mind hissed, playing her like a stringed marionette. Pathetic little girl. Love can never save you. But strength. Influence. That is power. Destroy or be destroyed.
      XXX"Вы должны быть более обеспокоены для себя, kотёнок." she says, her voice flowing like molten gold. You should be more concerned for yourself, kitten. From her lips, the term of endearment seems more of an insult. "держись подальше." Stay away. "Тыкотенок среди львов." You're a kitten amongst lions.
      XXXThat the Queen should warn him is a kindness most are not privy to. She empties her eyes of emotion as she holds his gaze. She turns her head to Daniel, granting him a sultry smile as she wraps her arms around the back of his neck. She tilts her head to the side and watches him through a curtain of impossibly long lashes. Nina rolls her hips against his in a decidedly sexual gesture.
      XXX"Let's not keep them waiting," she purrs.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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Russian. Before, the young man had spoken Korean to Daniel, and now he switches over to what appears to be Russian in order to exchange private words with Nina. The corner of Daniel's mouth twitches slightly, a minute motion indicated the desire for his blank expression to turn into a frown at this small exclusion. He very much despises not knowing what is going on, and while the two before him speak in a language he does not know, that is inevitably the case. Perhaps I should take up studying Russian, he muses coolly, reading the conversation as best he can purely based on tone and facial expression between Lucas and Nina. Clearly the speaking of her mother tongue has some effect on Nina, although given that maybe one or two others in the school speak it, at least one being someone attending the school due to a prodigal ability for learning languages, this is not surprising. Even Daniel had been pulled out of his red haze at the sound of Korean, after all. The young man before them knows the power of languages, this much is clear. Daniel wonders the extent of his mastery- is he someone to be concerned about?

Of course, even the lion might be slightly concerned over the flies buzzing about his ear, but they do not affect him enough to prompt immediate action. This boy might be brave, certainly foolish, and have a knowledge of languages, but he still gives off the feeling of someone frightened and quiet, by the way his eyes avoid direct contact, and his shoulders seem to turn inward very slightly. Daniel stands at his full height, posture perfect, shoulders slightly loose. The tightness has faded such that he seems impossibly relaxed in comparison to just a few brief moments ago. Still, people look at Daniel, cold, level-headed, intelligent Daniel, with a new tinge added to their fear of him. Some look with admiration, impressed with his display of brutality and strength. For his part, Daniel is ashamed. He is so quick to mock those who must use physical force to accomplish their goals, and yet tonight was quick to do just that.

He's been so careful since Sam died. And one drunken idiot brought down his house of cards with a few slurred words and harsh movements. At least now his disgust towards Cameron is more collected.

Daniel does not know what it is Nina has said to the boy, but it seems to indicate that she is through with Jack, and ready to reascend the beanstalk. As her arms wrap around his neck, Daniel instinctively puts one around her waist. She may roll her hips against him, making those few stragglers whisper about her reputation, but Daniel shows no reaction to it other than a very slight twitch, or perhaps clench, of the jaw. He raises his eyebrow at her, cool but pleased at the return to normal from this disturbing break in pattern.

Reacting otherwise would imply he sees Nina sexually, which he would see as a debasement of her value. To him, she is above such carnal things- he is the animal in a cage, but she transcends all such things. The least human in a school where many students can casually fly or drift through walls, she is Nina. The Queen.

"If I may have the honor, Miss Romanov?" he takes her hand and guides her away from the strange boy who speaks multiple tongues. Naturally, Nina's place is preserved by an unspoken rule of etiquette. One arm around her waist, one holding her hand, Daniel begins the dance. Polar opposite to the pair just a few dancers down, Erin and Anthony, the two are the picture of grace and refinement. As in all things, Daniel knows well the steps he must take.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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Aimee tried to point a panicked look at Anthony, but he was already engrossed with Erin and dancing. Which, under any other circumstance, would have been really nice. Aimee always wants Carr to really get out there, and maybe with a little help from the booze now he can. Sighing, she looked at Lane, who was seated next to her. They hadn't been this close since, well, since they were this close, and her heart had immediately started to beat rapid time. Her mental guard was down, and since Lane was so close Aimee could almost feel something from her. Aimee had honestly shoved every ounce of thought about Lane to the very back of her memory and had yet to deal with it. But now, with Lane sitting in front of her, all of it was coming back.

There is no way to really think about this without sounding completely homophobic...she thought sadly. She wished Tyler were here. As much as she hated her older brother's constant vigilance, his secure presence often made her feel a lot more comfortable. It took her a minute to realize that Lane had asked her something. "No, I'm...I'm not hungry..." She said lamely. Figures in the moment she needed it most her sarcasm failed her and all she could muster was awkwardness. "What do you...want?" Aimee asked, cursing herself inwardly.

Looking at Lane, all of the memories she had tried to push away just kept coming forward. But she wasn't...she wasn't really into her, was she? Booze and sexuality crises do not mix, she groaned to herself.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Lucas Long

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#, as written by piearty
TW: description of suicidal thoughts
Seriously, if you have a problem with this, don't read this post.
Post summary: Lucas is triggered by Nina's thoughts to have a slight anxiety attack and flashbacks to very dark times in his life, and then leaves the party.

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After Lucas spoke, he seemed to hear his last sentence echoing, as Nina repeated it over and over in her mind.

It did not have the effect he would've liked it to have.

Lucas wasn't exactly sure how Nina would react when he broke into Russian-- he expected surprise, denial...a hopeful part of him had wished for the words to support her in some way, but knew that this was unlikely. He guessed mostly he was preparing for anger; disgust and agitation at having been seen through despite her flawless facade.

But instead of lashing out, Nina seemed to cave in, and Lucas was suddenly awash with emotions that he'd been trying so hard to avoid, that he was sick of already; dark, creeping, noxious things that seemed to drag him down into the depths of a place he desperately didn't want to return to.

As he was being dragged down, Nina seemed to want to be pulled up, wrenched high into the heavens by a rope of her own making. To rest, she thought, and as a reaction, Lucas' throat seemed to tighten as well. Oh no. Oh no, no no no no no--

There was a tightness, a panic rising in his chest. He thought back, quite involuntarily, to the many, many nights where it was painful to simply exist, and how much he had desperately wanted all this to stop, to end: the voices, the exhaustion, the loneliness, the hurt. To the careful, deliberating way he would turn the tiny bottle, labeled TRIPTAZINE, over and over in his hands before placing it gently back in his bathroom cabinet. To the times when he would thoughtfully stand on the edge of the subway platform, past the yellow line, before reluctantly retreating to the back wall at the sound of the train. And this, and so much more--

"You should be more concerned for yourself, kitten," Nina said, and Lucas looked up at her, startled. The color had drained from his face. "Stay away. You're a kitten amongst lions."

She held up her mask again and Daniel swept her away to dance. Luckily, Daniel had drawn the conclusion that Lucas' power was over languages by himself, but that was not Lucas' focus right now. He turned away from the dance, the people, and the bonfire's light, resisting the urge to bolt. He walked slowly across campus to the dorms and entered his room. Silence. Everything was silence. But though others' people's voices in his head were gone for now, he couldn't get rid of his own, whispering insidiously. He laid in bed, staring at the ceiling.

Stay away, she had warned him.

He was more than happy to oblige.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lane Blackwell Character Portrait: Aimee Hart

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"What do I want?" Lanes heart sinks to her stomach and she scrunches her eyebrows. Hasn't she thought about this... at all? Doesn't she have anything to say? Lane fiddles with her fingers. She feels stiff in this moment, unable determind which way this conversation needs to go. It is clear to her that Aimee has put little to no thought into anything concerning Lane for the last 2 months. Lane would love to convince the girl beside her that they should be friends, hang out.... fall in love and spend all their time together. But Aimee is disconnected and maybe it's the alcohol or the fact that it's nearly midnight, but it hurts Lane just enough to keep her quiet. She looks up from staring at her lap to see everyone dancing in front of the flames. The music blasts reaching all ends of the campus. Everyone's having such a good time, exactly what Lane had intended to do tonight. Lane shifts her position awkwardly in a way so that she may face Aimee better. She stays silent though, letting her nervousness get the best of her.

Before all of this had happened Aimee and Lane hadn't even known each other. They had been nothing but classmates. If not for that night they would be two strangers, irrelevant to each other's lives. Now sitting on this bench nothing could be undone. And Lane didn't mind it, things could only go up from here. Okay that's a lie.

"Do you want to dance... a little?" She asks, letting the words slide out of her mouth cautiously. Lane brushes hair away from her face, a cool breeze passes giving her goose bumps, being closer to the fire would be nice right now, although it doesn't seem likely that she enjoy the rest of the night. Lane looks back into the girl opposite hers eyes, searching for anything. All she gets is distance though. As if Aimee wasn't even hearing the words Lane was speaking. "Or we could just sit here..." Lane sniffs. On the inside she is hitting herself, begging herself not to cry twice in one day. She faces away from Aimee figuring that there wasn't much she could say or do that would turn this moment of social stiffness around. Maybe it was bad timing to sort this all out, sitting on a bench on the outskirts of the largest summer bash of the year.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Ahn Character Portrait: Erin Hill Character Portrait: Christine Garner Character Portrait: Sterling Walker Character Portrait: Nina Nikolayevna Romanov Character Portrait: Anthony Carraway

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#, as written by Layla
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XXX
XXX
      XXX
      XXX"If I may have the honor, Miss Romanov?" Daniel asks. He keeps his distance despite being pressed against Nina's body. Somehow he manages to disregard the proximity and seem like he's poised in the other room, layers of mortar and brick wedged between them. It frustrates Nina in a way it hasn't before. Or perhaps it has always aggravated her.
      XXXNever has a man been so immune to her charms. It doesn't make sense. She'd wondered for a time if he might be gay, although it was always out of curiosity rather than for her own peace of mind. She'd never seen him in that way. She'd never seen anyone that way. Not since... Not since that night.
      XXXWhy would he want you? the voice hisses.
      XXXHer hand tightens involuntarily against Daniel's shoulder. She flinches at the way he seems to retreat from her advances - albeit subtlety - and his deadpan expression no matter how erotically she moves to the music. She feels the eyes on them, on her, roving along the curves and lines of her body like hungry vultures. Still Daniel looks at her as he might a necklace or a watch.
      XXXNina lifts her chin and stares at Daniel head on. She studies the dark brown of his eyes and something in them riles in her a fierce determination. Shut up, she tells the voice mocking her. The corners of her lips lift in a smile and her lashes drop in a deceptively timid gesture.
      XXX"Daniel," she murmurs against his neck. His name rolls from her tongue like smoke from a cigarette, heady with something rich but wispy in the way smoke is. Untouchable. Fleeting. Hidden beneath her normally minty breath - from an excessively obsessive grooming routine - is the muted warmth of alcohol, the musty hint of smoke and the sharp tang of something that is difficult to place, though certainly illegal.
      XXXHer fingers trail along the curve of Daniel's ear to follow the hard line of his jaw. They're manicured and painted a deep maroon. "For the bodies I have buried them in," she'd told Daniel once.
      XXXHer pupils are dilated as she looks into Daniel's eyes. They chase away the pale aqua of her irises. They are a shade so light, they almost seem colourless. In contrast, Daniel's are so dark, they could be black. Instead of being windows to his soul, they reflect only the person who sees into them. Always turning his enemies against themselves. It's a gift Nina appreciates when he's the General of her army. Not so much when what she needs is a friend a confidant.
      XXX"Daniel," she whispers, a tinge of desperation in the faint Russian lilt of her voice. As if saying his name again and again might make the man himself easier to understand. Her lips are inches from his. "See me."
      XXXThe whirl of a familiar blonde head jerks Nina's head. She stares at Erin's twirling form as a boy with light, messy hair spins her around. Anthony Carraway. 16. Powerful. The information comes to her mind automatically and already her mind whirls with plots and plans to destroy, destroy, destroy.
      XXXShe kept the Queen at bay for all of two minutes.
      XXXNina clenches her teeth and forces her gaze away from Erin. But in the other direction, she sees Sterling. His lips are pressed to a girl's shoulder. Christine Garner. 16. Powerful. One of his own kind. A strand of platinum blonde hair falls into his eyes in a way she used to love. The world swims. Tilts. She wrenches her eyes away, fuming, shaking, eyes wild and throat dry. Desperate for the burn of alcohol and the sting of a rolled joint. But most of all, her skin itches. Tingles. She buries her nails in her palms.
      XXXSomething else. Anything else.
      XXX"He knew my name," she says, her voice cold and devoid of inflection. She jerks her head in the direction of the way they left. "The boy who spoke Korean." She doesn't mention that he also spoke Russian. She only looks over Daniel's shoulder, not meeting his gaze. "Suppose it isn't unusual." Nina smiles, but it doesn't reach her eyes. "Should I be flattered?"